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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Oct 2, 2011 6:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Terrapin and Fire and ... ?

There are actually lots of opportunities for changes in Terrapin since it is such a long piece...but the band fell into a pattern of similarity for a while playing it--especially the outro jam ,which didn't change much. What you have to do is listen to a lot and seek out the versions which "go" other places....IMO the best thing they did w/Terrapin was around 1990 when they started adding VERY interesting post-lyrics jams, none better exemplified than the "Mock Turtle Jam" on the official 3/15/90 release. There are also times when Jerry just shredded in a hard-rock way the outro jam, which also sets such versions apart, as in 12/31/87: (Official release: Ticket to New Years)

Fire is trickier. The song works because of its hypnotic, repetitive reggae-infused jam, so repetition is a necessary part of its success. Unfortunately where "Fire" suffers is in the jam sections away from the main theme--ironically, with Jerry driving the engine--as good as those 1977 versions are, there is a very similar feel to all the jams and very little variation....which is why I think they started adding the 3rd middle verse "almost aflame still you don't feel the heat" later add some different elements and make the song more interesting. '

My favorite "Fires" still come from '77....most notably 5/13/77 and 5/21/77 (DP Vol. 29) b/c they really thrum on the reggae theme and Jerry is very engaged in the jamming, but more interesting (if less precise) versions emerge in '78 and especially '79, when Brent starts joining the transition jam sections with spacier explorations (11/1/79 is an excellent example.)